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Ex-Maori All Black returns for Western Force’s trip to Hamilton

By Finn Morton
Thomas Franklin of the Force passes the ball during the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between Western Force and Moana Pasifika at HBF Park, on March 15, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Former Maori All Blacks lock Tom Franklin returns to the Force’s starting side along with captain Jeremy Williams as the men from out west look to upset the high-flying Chiefs in Hamilton.

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Franklin, who won a Super Rugby title with the Highlanders, is back from head injury protocols while captain Williams has been promoted after playing 25-minutes off the bench last time out.

Williams had missed the Force’s three games before that. With Franklin also back in the mix, Williams’ return is crucial with former Wallabies lock Sam Carter unavailable due to an injury.

In the rest of the forward pack, Josh Barlett, Tom Horton and Santiago Medrano are the front-rowers, while Franklin will link up with Williams in the middle-row.

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Will Harris joins tackling machine Carlo Tizzano on the flanks of the scrum this week, while former Maori All Blacks enforcer Reed Prinsep takes his place at No. 8 once again.

Wallaby Issak Fines-Leleiwasa comes into the starting side as well with veteran Nic White unavailable due to an aggravated knee injury. Fines-Leleiwasa will partner fly-half Ben Donaldson in the halves.

In-form inside centre Hamish Stewart starts once again with Sam Spink just outside him in the No. 13 jumper. Chase Tiatia, Bayley Kuenzel and Kurtley Beale compete the starting side as the three outside backs to play the Chiefs.

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On the bench, former Junior Wallabies scrum-half Henry Robertson is in line to debut for the Force. Robertson has played six Super Rugby matches for the Waratahs in the past.

Kick-off for this fixture between the Chiefs and Force at FMG Stadium Waikato is scheduled to get underway at 3:05pm WST on Saturday.

Western Force to take on Chiefs

  1. Josh Barlett
  2. Tom Horton
  3. Santiago Medrano
  4. Tom Franklin
  5. Jeremy Williams (c)
  6. Will Harris
  7. Carlo Tizzano
  8. Reed Prinsep
  9. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
  10. Ben Donaldson
  11. Chase Tiatia
  12. Hamish Stewart
  13. Sam Spink
  14. Bayley Kuenzle
  15. Kurtley Beale

Replacements

  1. Feleti Kaitu’u
  2. Marley Pearce
  3. Tiaan Tauakipulu
  4. Izack Rodda
  5. Michael Wells
  6. Henry Robertson
  7. Max Burey
  8. Henry O’Donnell
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